This Peanut Brittle is a classic holiday candy that’s surprisingly easy to make. Roasted peanuts are folded into a homemade toffee-like mixture to create the perfect sweet, salty, and crunchy candy.
This homemade peanut brittle is a classic. Whip it up for any holiday party and watch it get devoured in minutes…if you don’t end up saving it all for yourself! 😉
What is peanut brittle?
Peanut brittle is a a type of hard candy made up of caramelized sugar and butter then embedded with small pieces of peanuts.
This ingredient list is so simple, you probably already have them on hand!
- Dark Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, Corn Syrup, and Unsalted Butter – our base! This is what forms the caramelized sugar. The dark brown sugar adds an extra molasses-like flavor, the corn syrup prevents the mixture from seizing, and the butter prevents the toffee from becoming too hard.
- Salt – cuts the sweetness from the sugars for the perfect balance of sweet and salty.
- Water – helps prevent sugar crystals from forming as the candy cooks.
- Vanilla Extract – adds a deep warmth and flavor.
- Baking Soda – creates tiny air bubbles within the brittle giving it the perfect, crispy texture.
- Peanuts – use lightly salted and dry-roasted peanuts for the best flavor and texture.
How to make
The key to the perfect peanut brittle is to get the caramelized sugar mixture to 300ºF…no more and no less!
- In a saucepan, place brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan then bring the mixture to 300ºF, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla, baking soda, and peanuts.
- Immediately pour the brittle onto a warm, greased baking sheet then use the bottom of a small saucepan, greased generously with cooking spray, to press the brittle out until it’s about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
- Let the brittle cool slightly at room temperature then place it in the freezer to cool completely.
- Snap into places, place in an airtight container, then store in the freezer or serve and enjoy!
Do you need to use a candy thermometer?
Yes, you need to use a candy thermometer. To get the texture of the peanut brittle just right it’s important to bring it to exactly 300ºF before pressing it out and letting it cool. If the candy doesn’t reach 300, it won’t harden properly, but if the candy get hotter, it’ll be too hard and will likely burn.
I do not recommend making this without a candy thermometer.
Why is my peanut brittle too sticky?
If your brittle is too sticky, it’s most likely undercooked. It has to reach the hard-crack stage, which is 300ºF. If it isn’t up to the right temperature, it will be gluey and messy.
Why is my peanut brittle too hard?
If your brittle is too hard, it’s probably overcooked. Once the candy thermometer has reached 300ºF, remove the mixture from the heat immediately. You don’t want to crack a tooth! 😉
What does baking soda do in peanut brittle?
Baking soda creates tiny air bubbles within the candy as it cooks making it crispy. This lightens and improves the texture so it’s not too hard and can break more easily.
Is peanut brittle gluten-free?
Peanut brittle is a great gluten-free treat!
Can you use a different nut?
Not the biggest peanut fan? No problem! Roasted and salted pecans or almonds are also delicious in this recipe — chop them up into smaller pieces and incorporate them as directed.
How to store
Store leftover peanut brittle in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. I don’t recommend keeping it in the fridge or at room temperature because it may soften.
Enjoy directly from the freezer or let warm to chilled or room temperature before serving!
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 cups lightly salted dry roasted peanuts
- Preheat oven to lowest temperature possible and generously grease a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Place baking sheet to warm in the oven while you make your brittle.
- Heat a small metal saucepan over low heat - keep this warm while you make the brittle, you will use this to help press out the brittle.
- In a medium sized saucepan, place brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water.
- Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, then over medium heat, bring the mixture to 300 degrees F stirring frequently (this takes about 30 minutes).
- Remove from heat and quickly stir in butter, vanilla, baking soda, then peanuts.
- Immediately pour the brittle onto the warm prepared baking sheet.
- Grease the bottom of the warmed small metal saucepan generously with cooking spray, then carefully press out the mixture to 1/4 inch - 1/2 inch thick (the brittle, sheet pan, and saucepan are VERY hot).
- Let cool slightly at room temperature.
- Clean the dirty saucepans and candy thermometer immediately with hot water and soap, so the brittle doesn't solidify.
- Place the brittle in the freezer to cool completely.
- Snap into pieces, place into an airtight container, then store in the freezer.
- Enjoy frozen, let chill in the fridge, or enjoy at room temperature.
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.